Unlike most other exchange students, I was officially done with all my classes and assignments here at University of New South Wales (UNSW) a few weeks ago. I couldn’t be happier or more excited to start the second part of this adventure, which in my case means TRAVELING! An exchange in Australia is just in so many ways different than anywhere else, because I had to start school here in the middle of our summer break (July), but this also means I finish so much earlier than normal. This gives me almost 3 months off to do whatever I want.
More importantly though, what makes it different, is that you’re in freaking Australia and I can promise you there is no place like this. Especially studying in Sydney is just a dream come true, because everyday literally feels like a holiday, I know the EUR staff wouldn’t be stoked to hear it, but school just doesn’t seem to exist here and you can always go on a new adventure and explore something else, within the city but also just outside of it. The weather is perfect the entire time and this city has everything you can wish for. The Central Business District (CBD), which is the heart of the city with the harbour, huge parks and sky scrapers will remind you of Manhattan, while the Eastern Suburbs with Bondi and other beautiful beaches, cliffs and nature are just 30 minutes away.
Another great thing is that the culture is very similar to ours, but then with a more laidback atmosphere and likeminded, fun people. All the people here are friendly and helpful and the fact that you’re surrounded by internationals far from home, makes you feel more at home.
I understand that the other side of the world might sound really far to some people and this could influence your choice, but I honestly haven’t felt far from home once! In the beginning, there were of course a few moments that I thought: Ilayda, what the hell are you doing, you can barely take care of yourself in Rotterdam! How will you survive Australia?! However, life is so easy here that it actually scares me to go back even more!
Just a quick example of what a regular day of mine could look like here: I wake up around 10:30 with a small hangover – this could be applicable to any day because in Sydney you can get down every day of the week – I put on my bikini underneath my regular clothes and throw a towel and sunscreen (VERY IMPORTANT) in my schoolbag. Then, I take a bus to school for my 12-13:30 class and, when I arrive at campus, I quickly get an awesome, huge sushi salmon avocado roll for 3 AU$, which is very cheap, because I was too lazy to make breakfast. Then, I listen to the teacher talk for 1,5 hours and after this, I rush to Bondi Beach to nap, swim, surf and tan for a few hours with friends. Finally, I get dressed up to go to CBD for dinner, a few drinks and I just see where the night takes us.
By Ilayda Hagens